Jock Duncan: On Autumn Harvest ah003.
Old Songs & Bothy Ballads: For Friendship and for Harmony
Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2005.

Jock understands the song to have been composed by John Gordon of Mansfield around 1830. There are fourteen versions in the Greig-Duncan Collection (GD 5:951) and a total of 21 in Roud - all from Scotland. Gavin Greig considered the song to be fairly recent when he first commented on it in his retiring presidential address to the Buchan Field Club in December 1905. The river Ythan rises 7 miles east of Huntly in Aberdeesnhire. It flows east to Bruckhills, northeast to Mains of Towie and then south to Fyvie from where it meanders generally southwards to Ellon before reaching one of the most unspoiled river estuaries in the British Isles at Newburgh Bar 12 miles north of Aberdeen.

1: As I cam in by Ythanside,
Whaur swiftly flows the rolling tide,
A fair young maid passed by ma side,
She looked at me and smiled.
She was a maid of beauty bricht,
That ever trod the Braes o Gight,
I could hae spent a leelang nicht,
Wi her on Ythanside.

2: I turned my back on Fyvie's bells,
And my peer hert gaed many a knell,
And I spiered her on tae St John's Wells,
Wi courage stout an bold,
The maid she turned withoot delay,
And thus to me began to say,
"I scarcely go two miles this way,
Young man I'll tell ye plain."

3: But gin ye gang the gate ye came,
I'll get a man tae show ye hame,
Oot ower yon bonnie flooery glen,
And hame by Ythanside."
I thanked the maid and turned richt bold,
The flocks were driving to the fauld,
And many a lively tale she told,
Jist as we passed along.

4: Till at length we reached her faither's hame,
Sae bashfully as I gaed ben,
Thocht I ma lad I'm fae fae hame,
Although on Ythanside.
The folkies there they seemed discrete,
And ilkae een about did creep,
The auld gweedwife brocht ben a seat,
And bad me tae sit doon.

5: As I sat there weel content,
The auld gweedman on news wis bent,
But to coort the maid wis my intent,
The truth I'll tell ye plain.
As I sat there at ma ease,
They treated me tae breid an cheese,
The bairnies they played roond my knees,
Wasn't that a blythsome sight.

6: Then up I started stracht oot richt,
An bid them aa a blyth gweednicht,
An I spiered the road tae Mains o Gight,
At which the maid replied:
"I'll show you by the barn door."
Judge ye gin oor twa herts were sore,
Tae think we'd pairt and meet no more,
On bonnie Ythanside.

7: I took the fair maid by the hand,
Oor time wis short we had tae stand
And I got a kiss upon demand,
This words tae me she said:
"When you come back this road again,
It's wi you that I'll be gaein."
And I gaed whistlin through the glen,
And hame by Ythanside.

8: When he came back was in the Spring,
He on her finger put a ring,
And from her hame he has her taen,
On bonnie Ythanside.
This couple they've got mairried noo,
And they hae bairnies one or two,
And as much land as keeps a coo,
On bonnie Ythanside.
c p 2006 Autumn Harvest